The terror attacks in Spain shook European markets, sending airline, hotel and travel agency stocks into the red amid fears of a pending drop in tourist numbers across the continent.
Investor jitters dragged on London’s blue chip FTSE 100 index, which slid 63.89 points to close at 7,323.98.
David Madden, a market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “The tragic event in Barcelona has shaken tourist-related stocks. When events like this happen, traders wonder will there be a negative impact on tourism, and companies in the travel and leisure sector feel the pressure.”
British Airways owner International Consolidation Airlines Group (IAG) was among the worst-performing stocks, down 12.5p to 611.5p while travel agency TUI dropped 9p to 1,325p and low-cost carrier easyJet fell 11p to 1,290p.
The tragedy also impacted the share price of Intercontinental Hotels Group, which fell 64p to 3,924p.
Merlin Entertainments was knocked down 3.9p to 460.5p, amid fears of a slowdown in visitors to some of the company’s main tourist attractions including Alton Towers and the London Eye.
FTSE 250 stocks were also hit by the sell-off, with tour operator Thomas Cook down 0.6p at 124.2p and budget airline Wizz Air falling 16p to 2,850p.
London’s second-tier index ended the day lower by 146.62 points at 19,626.46.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 included Randgold Resources up 90p to 7,495p, Rentokil Initial up 3.5p to 295.5p, RSA Insurance Group up 2.5p to 652p and Mondi up 7p to 2,068p.